“Madame Bachelot, religious heritage does not require resignation”

“By letting them be destroyed indiscriminately, there is a great risk of a certain loss of links in the history of architecture that are important to understanding its contemporary evolutions.” Oligo / stock.adobe.com

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – The host Stéphane Bern and the Communist Senator Pierre Ouzoulias deplore the lack of interest in the fate of some churches in danger recently shown by the former Minister of Culture. And plead for a national mobilization in favor of all our heritage.

Stéphane Bern is a journalist, radio and television host and historian.

Pierre Ouzoulias is a PCF senator from Hauts-de-Seine.

What can unite a communist senator, archaeologist, atheist, supporter of the Republic and secularism and a television and radio host, actor, passionate about history and especially about royal families: defense and description of heritage.

In the name of this common desire we write this text in response to the political position defended by Mrs. Roselyne Bachelot, about religious heritage. In his anamnesis of his passage rue de Valois, 682 days, the ball of hypocriteswanted the former Minister of Culture “There is a lot of courage in my successors to refuse the reckless rescue of a church that has no interest in heritage, but has a strong emotional and emblematic charge”. Asked to explain the inevitable necessity of the destruction of a journalist from public service television, he considered “that it will be difficult in the future to save some churches and, in particular, the religious heritage of the 19e century of no great interest”, sic transit gloria mundi !

SEE ALSO – “The budget model of the Ministry of Culture does not adapt to the requirements of the next two decades”, regrets Roselyne Bachelot

No one disputes the alarming state of health of many churches that have been neglected by worship. The Religious Heritage Observatory estimates that, in the next ten years, the preservation of 3,000 or 4,000 religious buildings, which are not protected as historical monuments, is uncertain. The churches were built in the second half of the 19th centurye century with materials that cause specific conservation problems, such as cement, iron and plaster, and according to aesthetic canons that are not valued much today are the most threatened. There is no national inventory of these buildings and even less assessment of their sanitary condition. By allowing them to be destroyed indiscriminately, there is a great risk of definitively losing links to the history of architecture that are essential for understanding its contemporary evolutions. When it comes to inheritance, making choices by default is always the wrong way to go.

It is possible to save these buildings by better mobilizing local authorities, associations, assignees and multiple funds, but not always easily accessible to the mayors of small municipalities.

Stéphane Bern and Pierre Ouzoulias

In a recent report of the Senate Culture Committee, given by Senator Anne Ventalon and the senator who co-signed this text, the observation was made of the inability of the State and its services in the regions to obtain instruments for in managing this unprotected legacy. It is undoubtedly “the impotence of his ministry” in this area that Roselyne Bachelot wanted to testify. However, the worst is uncertain and it is possible to save these buildings by better mobilizing local authorities, associations, assignees and many funds, but not always easily accessible to the mayors of small municipalities.

The same report welcomes the emerging consensus that brings together the mayors who own the churches, their ordained priests and the local authorities who can help find common uses for the monuments. which is not widely used for the entire population of the municipality. The best way to protect them is to open them more widely to activities that will give them new social missions, provided they remain respectful of their primary destination.

The two authors of these lines, whose paths are different, find themselves in the battles of Abbé Grégoire, constitutional bishop, president of the National Convention and senator. The man said to be too religious for the Republicans to appreciate and too Republican for the religion to love defended, before the National Convention, on 14 Fructidor Year II (August 31, 1793), a report against vandalism which laid down the principles of modern means of protection in historical heritage.

He strongly condemned the “new kind of fanaticism” against works of art, destruction of statues, sale and dissemination of works of the mind. These anathemas remain a definite subject! Abbé Grégoire considered that the monuments belonged to the Nation, because they taught him about its history and for this reason only the Nation could decide to destroy them. He thought the arts were the “sons of liberty” and they must contribute to the liberation of society. He ends his memoir with this proposition: “Therefore, let us write, if possible, on all monuments, and engrave on all hearts, this sentence: “Barbarians and slaves hate the sciences and destroy the monuments of art; free men will love them and keep them”.

We do this for the benefit of a national mobilization in favor of all heritage.

SEE ALSO – Should churches be demolished?

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